Dalit empowerment is the only way to empower the nation as a whole, says P.S. Krishnan, Chief Advisor, National Coalition for Strengthening SCs & STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and its Implementation, here on Saturday.

He was addressing the sixth A.P. State-level seminar on Dalit rights, organised by the State branch of All India Dalit Rights Federation, in association with Awareness Society for International Assistance (ASIA), New Delhi, and All India SCs/STs Railway Employees Association, Vijayawada division, at Railway Institute in the city.

The former Secretary to Ministry of Social Justice acknowledged the need to plug the several loopholes in the POA Act through Constitutional amendment.

He said the need of the hour was to bring pressure on the Government to reassess the Act’s implementation and fill up the lacunae because of which it had substantially failed to prevent violence against Dalits and tribal people.

Pointing out that the Centre had constituted four task forces to identify the loopholes in effective implementation of the Atrocities Act and that he himself was a member of three of the committees -- a Parliament committee, an enforcement committee and a review committee, he said reports highlighting the lacunae were submitted to the Government but nothing concrete came up at the end.

Referring to the issue of reservations in promotions for SC/ST employees, he said a Constitutional amendment must be brought about for its realisation.

He emphasised the need to understand the spirit of the Constitution in the right earnest.

R. Subba Rao, former Secretary , A.P. State SC/ST Commission, invoked the ‘Five Commandments’ of B.R. Ambedkar for Bahujan employees: “Go back to your village and pay back to your community. Spend 5 per cent of your time, knowledge and money for educational development of children of your community, live in majority settlements for socio-economic-cultural and political development of the community, be a member of Samatha Sainik Dal, be a member of Buddhist Society of India and be a member of a political party.

ASIA’s founder president Kandula Anand Rao, former Principal Secretary to Government of AP B. Danam, P.D. Satya Pal from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, Y. Kondal Rao, divisional secretary of SC/ST Railway Employees Association, State president K. Mohan Rao and others were present.

To press for their demands, a confederation of 200-odd organisations will stage a massive dharna at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on November 23 and on November 26, a protest rally will be taken out.

To press for their demands, a confederation of 200-odd organisations will stage a massive dharna in New Delhi on November 23